Feb. 6th, 2016

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Kate has actually done really well this month. After last month's Avastin treatments and positive MRI, we reduced her steroids (which caused many nasty side effects including weakness, bruising, and diabetes) from 8mg per day to 6mg, then 4mg, and now 3mg. She's doing fine on that dosage, and is showing considerable improvements in the side effects: her face and feet are less swollen, her blood sugar is much better (almost never over 200, usually below 130), and she seems less weak and wobbly.

The improvements are slow and subtle. I sometimes wonder if they're really there, and Kate can't perceive them at all. But her doctors, who see her only once a month, say that she's more alert and "present" and that she's smiling and laughing. So things are really looking up.

Another bit of good news: she was having some problems with her vision (no, really, good news... wait for it...) so we went to the eye doctor, who determined that her retinas are okay but her glasses prescription (which we just updated six months ago) is changing back toward what it was before the brain surgery. So she needs new glasses, but the implication is that decreased brain swelling is reducing the pressure on the optic nerve, allowing her eyeballs to begin to return to the shape they had before. She will probably need new glasses again in six months at this rate, but it's a small price to pay.

Mind you, she is still using a walker and she does still have some aphasia, memory lapses, and cognitive problems. But all of these issues are slowly improving, we are continuing to reduce the steroids, and we plan to resume physical therapy soon so she can start putting back the muscle the steroids have stolen from her. She's already started doing chair yoga, and walking and doing home-based PT as much as possible. It's going to be a long process but the outlook is good.

We visited New York City last week, where I met with my agent and editor (neither of whom I had met in person before) and many other publishing professionals including the buyer for Barnes & Noble. Kate didn't really have the energy to do any touristing, but we hung out with a few of our NYC friends and saw the play King Charles III, which was brilliant. In the last month we have also enjoyed Lily Tomlin's one-woman show, the NT Live production of Jane Eyre, the cast album of Hamilton, and the TV show The Expanse, and I spent a day working as an extra on Grimm (watch for me in episode 516, "The Believer"). I'm still plugging away on Arabella book 2, and hope to have a draft done by the end of this month.

Thank you to Sue & Rich, Alex & Isobel, Shannon, Anne, Catherine, Janna, Bo & Don, Geri, Simone, Melissa, Mark, Patrick & Teresa, Lise, and everyone else who helped out, came for a visit, or shared a meal.

Our plan for February is for Kate to get as much exercise as possible. If you are in town and could come by some time to go for a walk with her, especially if we could make it a regular thing once a week or so, that would be awesome. Apart from that, any time you can come by for a visit you'd be welcome.

Onward!

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David D. Levine

May 2017

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